Blade Runner 2049 tells the story of a young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.
After the countless disappointments in high budget, science-fiction and fantasy films that have been churned out in recent times, it’s rare to find something that actually works. To continue on with the Blade Runner universe, French-Canadian writer and director Denis Villeneuve couldn’t have been a better choice and his choice of lead in Ryan Gosling even better.
If the name seems familiar, he’s best known for his critically acclaimed crime-thrillers/science-fiction films in Prisoners (2013), Sicario (2015), and Arrival (2016). Thankfully, he’s one of the few writer/director’s out there who’s told dynamically diverse films that hold female leads, much like Taylor Sheridan who penned Sicaro.
The problem with this film is although a visual master piece, suffered because of it. It’s overly-lengthy run time at a whopping two hours and forty-three minutes meant that you needed more than one drink to get through it. There were many times where there was nothing happening and if removed, could have resulted in a much tighter, more intense film than the indulgent piece of visual art it was.
The plot was meandering at best, wandering from place to place, and eventually getting to the point the film itself was trying to make. Overall, the pacing was incredibly tedious and sluggish that held an interesting enough villain who failed to spend more than five minutes on screen. Because of this, Blade Runner 2049 felt like nothing more than an aesthetic visual art diary. It’s not the fault of the actors who were hardly given enough in the first place to work with, despite a promising concept that failed upon delivery.
To be quite frank and brutally honest, the entire story is something that could have been told in under an hour. Especially with the anti-climatic ending where the film went out with a whimper and not a bang, leaving you feel drained and needing to lie down.
Actors Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Jared Leto, and Robin Wright all performed brilliantly considering what they had to work with — fleshing out their characters as much as they could. Leto felt very under utilised with his character being so much more prominent throughout the film as the times we did get to see him, he would make you feel uneasy with the slightest of movements.
Despite the film barely reaching the groundbreaking status of the original 1982 film, Villeneuve does his best to make the film as creative as possible and he succeeds in that. At least visually. When news broke that he was taking the helm of the Blade Runner sequel, there was no doubt mixed feelings. Although it may not have captured the magic and the story within the original, he exceeds expectations as a visual experience, fully using all the technology available in our modern era.
Unlike many of the blockbuster films nowadays, Villeneuve doesn’t just deliver a spectacle, but he manages to pick up from where previous director Ridley Scott had left off. It’s been a thirty-five year long wait and even with the time difference, the bar has been raised very high.
All in all, the film was overlong without much story yet visually impeccable, worthy of an IMAX screening.